Anne was on a date with Jeremy Simpson, a semi-blind date set up by a mutual friend, Paul.
Anne was desperate to get laid. She hadn’t slept with anyone in five of the longest, sexless months of her life. Jeremy was single and had the appendage she needed. They seemed like the perfect match.
The pair met at the corner cafe at Monash University. Anne ran into Paul, who was eating lunch with Jeremy. The two guys shared Monday morning lecturers together.
Both men jumped on the opportunity to work together on a group presentation. They were working through their ideas when Anne spotted them.
Anne thought she had won the dating lottery. Jeremy was good looking, with dark features and a manicured five o’clock shadow. And she had the way into meeting him; Paul.
After an awkward introduction and exchange of few pleasantries (the weather, the coffee, blah blah), Jeremy left for class. As he walked away, Anne begged Paul for a date.
“Set me up with him, please, please, please.” Her begging wasn’t dignified but highly necessary. Remember, five months.
“Fine, Anne, but whatever happens is on you.”
She ignored Paul’s warning.
After taping herself into a backless red dress, she arrived ten minutes late to Dome. Jeremy had chosen the cocktail bar in the backstreet of Prahran. She had been there before, not for a date. It was the favoured cigar bar for the law students before they banned smoking in venues.
Jeremy was waiting at the bar, talking to the bartender. She approached him, hoping he would recognise her despite dressed absurdly unlike herself.
The Awkward Silence
She asked him like she didn’t know who he was, which was impossible. How could she forget his exquisite expression?
“Oh hey,” he stood up and kissed her on the cheek. “You look,” he stalled, “beautiful.” She wondered what the hesitation was. Anne reminded herself why she wanted this date; she wanted, no, needed to have sex. Before her private parts dried up forever.
Eyes on the prize, she told herself.
Anne took a seat next to him, wishing they were at one of the low-set tables rather than uncomfortably high bar stools. She wasn’t sure if the delicate fabric of the dress could hold until the tension, but didn’t argue with the situation. Arguing wouldn’t lead to sex, she mused.
“What are you drinking?” Anne chastised herself for her uncomfortable ice breaker. “It looks good.”
He swirled the drink in his hand. “It’s a banana daiquiri.” Jeremy stared at her waiting for her to speak next. She gawked back at him, unable to think of something quipping or intelligent to say. When the embarrassed silence became unbearable, he squeezed her quivering hand. “Would you like one too?” She nodded.
“So, how long have you known Paul?”
Jeremy had the foresight to lead the conversation.
“Well, it’s been a long time. I met him at a party in high school, and we’ve been tight ever since. What about you?” Though she knew the answer, she was grateful for the uncomplicated follow-up question.
“Since the start of the first semester, so seven months now. He’s an exceptional guy, don’t you think?” She couldn’t argue with that. “Yeah, he’s one of a kind.”
“I’m guessing that Paul wanted us to get to know each other better, or he wouldn’t have set up this…” He raised his fingers and performed the air quote, “date”.
Why would this be a quote-unquote date?
The Confession Part 1
“Can I be honest with you?” Anne asked.
Jeremy smiled sympathetically. “I asked Paul to set this up. I saw you sitting with him, and I thought you were very good looking, so I asked him to make it happen. I want to be transparent. Especially if there is a second date.”
Or sex. Lots of sex.
Jeremy’s expression dropped, his chin falling to his chest. “Please don’t be angry with Paul,” she apologised, “it was all my idea.”
Taking his glass, Jeremy finished his cocktail, tipping back the remaining liquid. He looked at the bartender and indicated for another.
The Confession Part 2
“I don’t know how to say this, Anne, especially after all the effort you’ve made.” He looked more nervous than her. “I’m gay. And I’ve been sleeping with Paul for the last five months.”
Oh. No. Way.
Anne held back the tears of humiliation welling in her eyes. It was bad enough that she didn’t know that Jeremy was gay. But she had no idea one of her closest confidants had been hiding a significant part of his life away from her. And that he was in a long-term relationship, too.
Then she realised she had begged for this date, and everyone knew it. Jeremy knew she was desperate. Paul had entertained her undignified behaviour.
Then came the even bigger realisation; she wouldn’t be having sex that night.
The Getaway Dress
While attempting to leave the sophisticated establishment, Anne popped up from her seat. It was best to leave, forget the date existed, and return to the safety of her sexless bedroom.
But the indignity would continue. As she stood erect, she felt the material of her dress buckle, producing a tearing sound as the fabric split past her thigh. She ran from the bar while holding the remains of her dress together. Luckily, she found a taxi dropping off a fare. She climbed into the back and begged the driver to leave.
Her night was falling apart at the seams. Yes, actually.
On the way home, holding the seams of the dress, hoping it would stay together until she got home, she rang Paul. Before she could say anything, he spoke.
“I warned you, didn’t I?”
See you the next time I open the Little Black Book…
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. My want is for a better opportunity for writers, especially fictional, in an increasingly technology dominant world. I write the stories that have formed my life and comment on the experience along the way.